Skip to main content
7:00 am >> president obama dropped in at a washington, d.c. bookstore on saturday along with his daughters to do some holiday shopping. when he was asked by reporter br what he bought he said he had long list of books for readers age five-52. his purchases included a typewriter, herald and the purple crayon, and the sports gene. this saturday after thanksgiving has become known as small business saturday. >> i think we may still be members. are you from chicago? >> i am. [inaudible] >> it's a great place to be. >> a wonderful bookstore.
7:01 am
spend what did you by? >> it is a long list, but some outstanding books. got every book for every age group from five until 52. are we all set to? speak with you are all set. thank you so much. >> okay, guys. have a great holiday. [applause] >> you are watching booktv. coming up next, daniel flynn argues that doctors and lawyers are pushing the idea that football is an overly dangerous sport to drum up business. he says that the conventional wisdom surrounding football is totally wrong and that the sport, a rite of passage for millions of american boys, is being unfairly attacked. this is about an hour.
7:02 am
>> ladies and gentlemen. try it one more time. we are getting there. ladies and gentlemen, -- almost there. welcome. you don't have to stop eating. there still some soda back there. welcome to the final authors night of accuracy in academia's 2013 conservative university lecture series brought to us by a generous grant. we do these to give you a chance to see and hear speakers and authors that you might not be exposed to on the campus of your from, or even those of you over
7:03 am
on the hill, the congressional committee that you work for. and a big fan that accuracy in academia and accuracy in media have in common is that we continuously find that this is what keeps us going from day-to-day, that just about everything we've heard in school and the newspapers and other news broadcast is wrong. so you can do this little experiment on your own. just take one story you've been doing research on it and seeing how well it holds up. at one campus lecture. we do it day in day out. and a lot of hard talks focus on current events, history. so this might seem an odd one, but it fits because just about
7:04 am
everything you hear about the dangers of football turn out to be wrong. i was astounded to learn that cheerleaders are at greater risk of physical danger than football players. but the gentleman we brought in, the author we brought intimate to speak on this topic is my predecessor at accuracy in academia, five books, right? why the left hates america, conservative history of the left, "blue collar intellectuals" and -- how my doing? "the war on football: saving america's game." now, how many people try to watch at least one game on the weekend? that's about what i thought.
7:05 am
it's usually fairly absorbing unless you're a redskins fan. books on football are another story. this is the exception to the rule. it is a compelling read. i think we will find itself, and we have a compelling speaker in the man who wrote this book. ladies and gentlemen, daniel flynn. [applause] >> thank you for coming out tonight. i figured since we're in washington, d.c. and talk about football we could sort of mix a little bit of america's game with the local sport which is politics, and football for whatever reason is a big sport amongst politicians. people say the horse racing is the sport of kings. i think if that's true, football
7:06 am
is serving the sport of presidents. from everyone from theodore roosevelt the gerald ford playing at the university of michigan, an awful lot of presidents who have had a relationship -- a real interest in the sport of football. i think if you were to ask the people in this building, whose your favorite football playing president, they would probably say ronald reagan. ronald reagan, a lot of people don't know, played football at eureka college. he later was a play-by-play man for the university of iowa hawkeyes on w.h.o. radio. his biggest involvement in football stand of course from his role in the movie nude rockne all-american. in that movie ronald reagan got his nickname by playing the gipper, and i think notre dame in college football brought a lot more from ronald reagan. what i mean by that is if you watch that movie, there's a
7:07 am
sense in which notre dame do not only building young bodies on the football field but they were building character, that they were basically building young man. it was a real kind of problem -- propaganda tool for notre dame. what any by this that if you watch the movie at a certain point nude rockne, there's a gambler, a book you stumble syndrome and the kitchen that says when the user gambler surrender. you've ruined baseball, horse racing. when the going to let you ruin this clean game, and he throws them out. at a later point in the movie there were some politicians that want to do a way with football because corrupting the academic, corrupting academia essentially. and he says any player who flunks classes is of no use to his coach, and any coach in place a flunky is just a cool. reagan gets into the act.
7:08 am
reagan has the speech, really kind of ham-handed speech where he says there will never be but one nude rocking. here at notre dame were no else but he gives us something they can teach in school. something clean and strong. not just courage but right way of living. that none of us will ever forget. the right way of living that nude rockne and george get engaged in was -- george gipp, they were both professional athletes posing as amateurs at notre dame. they were both being paid in other sports. oath of them were heavy gamblers. george gipp, you could call him a degenerate gambler, someone who hung out at pool halls at night and also people for money. they both bet on notre dame. we no george gipp probably the greatest player that played at notre dame, the guy that reagan played in the movie, he averaged
7:09 am
six points three yards a carry. is grade point average was something less than that. it was like 0.0. is first to a half years at notre dame there's no real record of him being there. he's called a trained athlete. he played for notre dame but didn't go to school there. and so my point in bringing this up is not to trash nude rockne he was a great coach or george gipp who was a great player or notre dame which is a great institution but it's just to suggest that the power, the power of hollywood to shape perception. we have a perception of george gipp and nude rockne because of hollywood that is diametrically opposed to reality of nude rockne and george get. hollywood has the power to make bruce willis see dead people. and also the power of making
7:10 am
these two men sinners into saints on the screen. this is a lot like the controversy over football today. my book is about perception versus reality. we have a perception about football based on the mass media that the game is more dangerous than ever, that players die young if they played for a long time, that there's this epidemic of suicide in the nfl. what i do in "the war on football" is i get the signs and i try to overcome the speculation with the science on the game and the stories behind the game. and the reality is that the perception that's been created by the mass media with football over the last two years is almost in every instance wrong. in some cases just 180° wrong. i got into this genesis of writing "the war on football" was a study that was put
7:11 am
together by the national institutes for occupational safety and health. national institutes ofnational f occupational safety and health federal scientist. they put together last year, they looked at every nfl player who was pension vested who played in the league between 1959-1980. so guys like lawrence taylor and joe theismann and walter payton and dick butkus, all these guys, about 35 other players who played in the league in those 30 or so years. the reason they looked at these players is because there's a wide suspicion in the public that nfl players die young, that they died in the '50s, that the game takes such a toll on their bodies that their health outcomes are just absolutely horrible. this is something that has been spread in the mainstream press. it's not like an anonymous blogger seems to jewish wills
7:12 am
was probably the most widely read columns in america, he the road for all players who play five or more years, life expectancy is less than 60. for alignment it is much less. abc news, the average life expectancy of a retired football player is 58 years., the average life expectancy for an average american male is 75. for nfl players 53-59. the federal scientist looked into this and what they found shocked a lot of people. and nfl players don't die young. they actually outlive their peers in society. they have a longer life expectancy. this mortality study was expecting to find about an 18% death rate amongst these nfl players. they found the 10% rate, almost half what was expected based on the prevailing rates in society.
7:13 am
they looked at 17 different disease categories, and in 14 of the 17, the nfl players have better health outcomes than the average joe, this terrible guy out in society. things like heart disease, cancer, respiratory illness, diabetes, even suicide was much lower amongst the nfl players than it was amongst men in society. there's sort of a -- if you're an up or down a practice you for two hours every day, if you have intensified in training, if you have access to the best medical care in the world like these nfl players do, if you have a restrained from vice and we know not every nfl player is restrained from vice, but generally if you're not smoking cigarettes and doing all sorts of crazy drugs, you will probably have better health
7:14 am
outcomes. it's a little shocking to me that people were shocked by this survey. this is an example of the public's perception being shaped not by the facts on the ground, but by a lot of misinformation with regard to columnists and writers, being primed to believe that the nfl takes decades off your life. win in fact the sciences, the nfl players our outliving their peers. they have better outcomes. another one of these perceptions versus reality, the clash between the two involves the idea that bigger, faster, stronger means deadlier. that the nfl players are much bigger than they used to be and so the game is much more dangerous. the players at the high school level, college level, at every level, it's a faster game, a bigger game so it's going to be a deadlier game. not really.
7:15 am
football in general used to be a pretty deadly game. people would die on the field. in the height of the violence was in 1960. there were 36 players at all levels of competition who were killed at football hits. i'm a big fan of football but even for me that's a little hard to justify for what amounts to be a kids game, the id you can all these people dying on the field because of the game. society didn't really notice this much in 1960 because in 1968 there were bombings and assassinations and riots in the streets. there were casualties in vietnam. so the american people it wasn't this outrage about football than it was now, but the football people notice and any changes to the game and that's a big point of my book, "the war on football," that football is not just a game of violence and ruckus. always evolving, progressing.
7:16 am
it's not like baseball or soccer that are static game teams thaty the same but it's an evolving game. after that season, within a few years they were rules on speeding. you could know longer to head spearheads. they used to be something called a web suspension. you would wear h. hardshell, with a piece of fabric essentially keeping it from getting that hardshell window with the collusion. that technology was invented right before world war ii, and the military liked it so much they conscripted this football helmet essentially for military use. and, in fact, i was a marine for many years and i wore that web suspension helmet into the 21st century. football got rid of that technology in the 1970s. and as twisted as it sounds, we equip our football players
7:17 am
better in a country than we do our soldiers and marines. coaching got better. heads up tackling. coaches not, you know, no longer sing put you between the numbers and that kind of thing. all of these things combined to bring football from the point where they had 36 deaths from galatians in 1968, to last season where there were two deaths from galatians. again got dramatically safer. and at the time we should've been giving football a pat on the back, where getting a kick below the belt. to put this in perspective, there were no kids that died last year from a football hit. more kids died getting struck by lightning than playing football last season and getting struck by other players. and the perception from the news is that the game is more dangerous than ever. it's safer than ever and i think one of the ways you can kind of
7:18 am
grasp that the game is safer than ever, is how the conversation initiated. no one much talked about players getting killed on the field anymore. they talk about players getting concussions, and i don't want to downplay the risk of concussion or the dangers of concussion, but i think it's safe to say that a concussion is a much less permanent outcome than a death from a foot ball hit. that it's something that the symptoms generally disappear and with death they don't disappear. even the fact we're talking about concussions and not players getting killed, i think that is a sign that the game has gotten safer. now, when football's critics talk about concussions, they generally do in conjunction with the idea of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. you've heard a lot of this on the news, a number of plays from nfl players, people like junior
7:19 am
set out by michael webster and john mackey really great players who have a lot of trouble cognitively in the last years. when scientists look at their brains after they were dead they found that they had cte. if you were, if you watched the pbs documentary that has been airing, the impressions left by legal denial is the local causes cte and that the nfl has known about this for years but has tried to cover it up. that is the animating idea behind the documentary league of denial. .com and if you want to come you get that impression, it's on until 72 minutes in that you actually are a dissenting voice. so for 72 minutes you get agreement and you're bound to think this is what scientists believe.
7:20 am
it's action that what scientists believe the scientists believe the opposite. the best scientists in sports got together last year at internet conference on concussion in sports, and they crafted a consensus statement. in that consensus statement they had some words about cte and this is what they said. they said a cause and effect relationship has not yet been demonstrated between cte and concussions or exposure to contact sports. why would the safest? the reason they're saying this is because it hasn't even been a randomized study done on cte in football. we have anecdotes. we have autopsy. we essentially have junk science did people say -- it's junk science. what i mean by junk science is that science that doesn't have any applications beyond the immediate subject of study, that you can't make any sweeping
7:21 am
generalizations based on a. that if you're looking at an individual players bring, if you're not doing a randomized study, you can tell us about that individualize brain but you can't tell us about other players and you can't tell us the rate of cte amongst people in society or people in the nfl. this is the kind of study they're done with cigarettes in 1966, the british doctors study shows there's a link between cigarettes and cancer. that kind of the study hasn't even been attempted with cte. what we have are autopsies done in italy with a selection bias. in other words, scientists going after brains that they believed to have been brain-damaged improvise, and finding, lo and behold, when you do an autopsy that they have brain damage. shocking. one of the big concerns that other scientists have, let me play that there is article after
7:22 am
article, i mean if you look at academic publications, criticizing the boston university group and others that are doing some of the cte research, just, this is just the stuff in the last few months, looking -- one of the criticism that they have is that the two main groups of studying cte have different definitions of what cte is. people studying cancer don't have two different definitions of cancer but cte is so new that you groups that are debating what exactly it is. and the boston university group that was -- one of the criticisms levied at him is that the definition is so elastic as to almost guarantee that you'll find what you're looking for. there's a condition that naturally occurs in human beings that 97% of all people get in
7:23 am
their brains, and that condition is being used to determine whether someone has cte or not. doesn't have anything to do with drama, so why is it being used as a determined of whether someone has cte? that's one of the criticisms of that group. to me, one of the great things about science is that even if you're not the person doing the initial study, if it's science, the findings can be replicated elsewhere and no one has been able to replicate this amazing percentage of football players found with cte, that this bu group has done to their funding cte all most every case any of the other groups, all with selection bias on going after brains everything to been brain-damaged. other groups not find it to that level. i think that's something that really should set off a red flag and it has set off a red flag in the scientific community. one of the main reasons why
7:24 am
there's such a huge interest in concussions in cte has to do with the player's lawsuit against the nfl that was recently settled for $765 million. i think it would shock a lot of people who know that about 10% of the players suing the nfl never actually played a down in an nfl game. these are guys who got cut in the preseason, guys who may have made at taxi squad but they never got into an actual nfl game. if you look at the players who actually made an nfl team and got on the field, that went on this is the nfl, you have kickers who played in five games, you have backup quarterbacks who barely played at all. you have replacement players from 1987 strike who played in those three replacement games in 1987. i don't think you have to be a
7:25 am
particularly cynical person to look at this and say, well, gee, these guys played in pop warner, high school, college, they may have played in other pro leagues, but they got the brain damage from it couple of coffee they had in the nfl? i really find it hard to believe. so i think for a lot of these guys, and i would say the bulk of the guys suing the nfl, it was a giant moneygram. i'm not doubting that there's some guys that was when the league that had damage, but walked away from the game with a lot of damage. we know there's a guys that's true of, but i think for the 4500 or so guys who are suing the nfl, a lot of them thought they hit the litigation lottery, and they were right. now, what bothers me about all this is that the propaganda surrounding the professional game has been projected upon high school in pop warner. there are players who have
7:26 am
played football and have come away damaged as i said, and at the nfl level they are funny for this confines itself to alzheimer's and als generally with skill position players, have really elevated rates. to project those findings upon high school players, to me, is beyond reckless because they have done science on this. the mayo clinic last year released a study in which the income hypothesis was, they were going to find elevated rates of nerve degenerative diseases amongst high school football players who played high school football at mid century. they compared these guys with members of the glee club, with the choir, the band. and they were shocked to find out that not only were there no real differences between the glee club members, band members, choir and the football players, but in a lot of instances those
7:27 am
guys with the musical interest had a little bit higher level of parkinson's, of lou gehrig's disease or in other words, what's happening to a very small subset of players at an elite level, there is no evidence of that happening at the high school level. there's a couple thousand guys who play in the nfl, according to this study, a 30 7a guys be looked at, 12 of them died of neurodegenerative diseases. in other words, less than one half of 1% of all the guys there looking at. 12 guys. that's the rate that was higher than anticipated, but we are still talking a very tiny, tiny fraction of pro players but is there something better if you're playing a certain position like a linebacker or defensive back at the end of level or years and years? yeah, there might be something there but that doesn't mean every kid playing pop warner is going to be condemned to a --
7:28 am
it's just reckless to put that forward. i think that's what the lawsuit did. the irony of the nfl lawsuit was that the players hurt every leg that they were not suing, but they didn't hurt the one leg they were suing one day. in the nfl, approaching about $10 billion in revenue. the highest rated television shows, sunday night football. a league that sells parking spaces on game day for 50 bucks. they don't have to worry about paying out $755 million. they will survive. they are doing fine. but the league is so in your store door to pay for shoulder pads, those are the leagues that really have to worry. recently there was a bowl conducted by hbo real sports in which they asked people, knowing what you know about football and brain injuries, would you allow your kid to play? 33% had reservations about
7:29 am
allowing their kids to play. we al are already seeing this in action. most recent statistics show high school football was down, the numbers were down for the first time in about 20 years. youth football lost 6% of its player population last year. so if you think about football as a spectator sport, football is doing fine. if you think about it as a participatory sport that gets play in, football is struggling for its life. there's an existential crisis going on with football and it's not something that's coming 10 or 20 years down the road. it's happening right now. i think this is a terrible thing for american boys. there's a bit of a culture clash going on. our culture is very passive aggressive. it's an indoor culture. it's antiseptic, and football and young boys, and it's a mighty, it's very outdoor
7:30 am
oriented, it's aggressive, rough. i think if football didn't exist some 10 year old boy out there with inventive. football clashes with culture but it really meshes with boys. i think boys really need football. if you think about the crisis of boys in america today, you go into almost any classroom in america and there's some boy bouncing up and down off the wall. he has a lot of energy, and instead of giving him a basketball or football, we give them ritalin. we ge give them adderall. we drug them. what a medical condition known as boilers. think about obesity. 40 years ago, about one out of every 20 teenagers was obese. now it's one out of every five. we have an obesity problem in this country. to me, football traditionally has been the way ticket the
7:31 am
class fatso off the couch and into cliques. because of the advantages of the game. other sports makes those dissidents. football makes that an adventure i know a lot of people think you bulk up for football. made at the college and pro level but most people play football at the youth level where there are generally weight limits to football could be a tool against, the fight against obesity. obesity is the biggest public health concern for young people in this country today. there are some people that think they can -- we are increasingly becoming an obese, fat nation. in sports we should be encouraging sports, we shouldn't be encouraging slobs the the biggest crisis facing american boys today is the lack of male role models they have. about 40% of kids grew up without a dad in the home.
7:32 am
i'm not suggesting that sports or football can replace a bad. it can't. but if you're a kid, you need some discipline, you can find that on a football field. if you need focus, male camaraderie, i male authority figure, you can find out on the football field. a lot of what ails american boys, maybe not can be cured but can be helped in great degree by sports, especially by the sport of football. this war on football is not just bad for boys. it's bad for america. football is america's game. if you think about the things that unite us as americans, you can probably count them on a four fingered hand. does not do things that we come together on in this country, and we're divided by politics, divided by religion, divided by what cable news network we
7:33 am
watched. but on sunday about two-thirds of america comes together in a watch football. they do this on super bowl sunday. most americans in front of a tv set. when you look up in the stands at a football game, you see america. when you look on the field, you see people from all geographic locations. you see people from all different classes extension of aqc people from all different racial groups. it is america down on the field. that's something we should be encouraging. we shouldn't be trying to stamp it out. and about what happened in new orleans a few years ago after hurricane katrina. the city looked down and out. it almost looked like their football team. do you remember the new orleans saints? they were so pathetic that their fans were bags over their heads. all of the sudden after hurricane katrina, there's all these politicians trying to bring back new orleans. they all failed. they can get the city united.
7:34 am
they can't bring it back. what brought back new orleans? what sent america on notice that new orleans was back was the new orleans saints super bowl run. that animated the city. it brought it to life. it showed us that new orleans -- the reports of its death are greatly exaggerated. i know there's some people who think that's silly that we unite behind the football team. why can't a city unite behind something higher and more noble than that? i don't know. it's just the fact that that's what they decide to unite behind. isn't that a good thing? shouldn't we be encouraging that? it's not just professional teams. looking taxes, high school football on friday nights, which that done to a committee. some of the college towns turn into metropolises on saturday. what football can do to galvanize the community. there's very few things that can have the power of football. it's america's game. we start talking about some of the presidents and their
7:35 am
obsession with football for whatever reason. i think it would be a good place to close and then we can take some questions. and the president is most closely associated with football is theodore roosevelt. and theodore roosevelt's interest in football was highlighted in 1905 because they had such a brutal season. there were more players killed on one saturday in 1905 from football hits and were killed all last season. theodore roosevelt held a white house summit not far from here on football where he wanted to have the big schools pledge for a clean again, to follow the rules. and after that 1905 season, it was sort of a microcosm of football. the game evolves. that's the message of my book. that's the message of "the war on football." however, bad the situation seems in football now and people are upset about safety, football
7:36 am
always evolves. it always adapts and overcomes. after that 1905 season, we got the forward pass. the neutral zone. they then the idea of forward motion. so there were major changes in football. and i think a football can survive the introduction of the forward pass, it certainly can survive the fact that we're going to flight running backs are lowering their head into defensive players now in the nfl. that's a minor tweak compared to some the major change that football endured over the years. change is a component. it's an integral part of the game of football. the tradition of football is almost -- i don't want to say they don't have tradition but appreciation -- their tradition has change.
7:37 am
theodore roosevelt, despite everything he saw the season on the football field, and many years earlier he made the remarks that he would rather have his kids play football than any other sport. and, in fact, that year his son played football. he got bloodied and beaten up at harvard. and if anyone knows anything about theodore roosevelt, jr., that was sort of foreshadowing his life in europe at d-day. the oldest man at the day. the only father-son team to be at d-day. he got a bloody nose at harvard. i don't know if that is situated into what he would experience later in life but there's some benefits to the game of football. the president that i'm more interested in in the interest of football is woodrow wilson, the guy that theodore roosevelt ran against later and lost. and woodrow wilson before he was president, a lot of people don't know, he was a football coach.
7:38 am
he helped coach the team at westerly and princeton. and this controversy over football today, the war on football, it didn't start the day before yesterday. in the 19th century woodrow wilson debated the subject, the big audiences. should we encourage became a football? he took the affirmative position. is reason was this, and let me get my trusty notes here in two not misquote president wilson. but he said that he thought football developed more moral qualities than any of the game of athletics, going to decisiveness, endurance, presence of mind. he said a lot of sports encourage those qualities, but there are two qualities that are unique to football that you don't find so much in other sports. those were cooperation and self subordination. if you think about it, in baseball we just witnessed the boston red sox win the world series based on, they had a good team but really they rode one
7:39 am
guy, or least one position player. a designated hitter. he had an amazing world series and the rest of the team was sort of okay. in hockey, if you have a hot goalie, your players can be playing mediocre, or forwards, defenseman, you can when a stanley cup based on a hot goalie. you can have one great player in football and expect to win. it's a team effort. if you think about it, these guys are called lineman. it's strange. you don't find this and other sports. they are not even allowed to touch the ball really. unless it's a designed play. every other sport generally you are allowed to score, get a chance to score points. but in football there's the unheralded position of the lineman. the guy who fights in the trenches never hears the crowd chant his name but yet he's more integral to the success of the team than the guys who hear their names chanting.
7:40 am
that's a lot like life. we don't always get a gold star for our efforts. we don't always get a pat on the back. there are not always people there chanting our names. that's a great life lessons that football teaches. i think for the big take away for anyone who has ever played the game, and i've heard this said by vince lombardi and you can have said by some random nine year old who just stepped on the gridiron for the first time this past fall, the observation that on just about every play in football, someone gets knocked on their ass. someone gets knocked in the dirt, knocked down in the mud. what this football teaches them? teaches them to get up, to fight, they don't stay down in the dirt, that when you get knocked down you get back up. you can walk a few blocks from their, from heritage foundation and you also to people have been knocked down and never get a. the common denominator of everyone in this room and everyone watching at home is
7:41 am
that we've all been knocked on our but at some point in life. everyone has been knocked down. the great thing about football is that it teaches an enduring lesson. get up after you've been knocked down. that is a good habitat in life. football is a great life lesson. it is a metaphor for life in a lot of ways and i think that's -- that basic lesson is a great guide to live by. when you get knocked down, you get up. there's a lot of people out there that are saying you should be ashamed to watch football on saturday, on sunday, that it's a gladiator sport. despite the fact that many for years the nfl there's not been a single player who died from a football pitch. two guys building the vice dig them out in sin francisco, construction, that's a dangerous
7:42 am
profession. football is a rough profession budding nfl it's not a deadly profession. we shouldn't be ashamed to watch human greatness. a lot of what we see is athletic greatness in the nfl. we shouldn't be afraid to watch it we shouldn't be ashamed of it. so my message in my book, the message want to leave you with the day is that it's okay to watch. it's better to cheer, and it's and best of all, to play. thank you so much. i look forward to your questions. [applause] >> not everyone at once, for sure. [inaudible]
7:43 am
>> wanted to ask the question about your thoughts on the science of dr. robert -- [inaudible] >> he is not the guy behind impact but there's a company known as impact, and if you're going football there's something nowadays called -- these nerve cognitive tests, these baseline test you take before the season. then if you get a concussion or if there's a second concussion you take a baseline test again to see if you're up to speed. if you're not up to speed it could be used as a tool to keep you out of play. in the book i talked at great length about this company impact because there's been a lot of scholarship done on impact, particularly by a guy named mark lavelle. a lot of his scholarship, its impact and suggest that impacts
7:44 am
really effective. and in many of these articles you don't learn that robert lavelle is also the president of the company, the ceo, he's the guy wh who's making millions of dollars off the do. why in the values this, for no one uses it, the wwe e. uses it. so it's a big business. i have a chapter called concussions in. concussions have become a big business. the internet is not that much different from the sort of 19th century buckboard snake oil salesman to ginkgo in health food stores now and buy a sports drink elixir that promises to help you cure your concussion. you can get pills, things called brain pad, mouthpieces that act as though they will help you with a concussion. a headband, as if they had band is going to do something.
7:45 am
so there's a lot of money to be made on concussions and a lot of what we are seeing out there in health food stores and sporting good stores, on the internet, it's just snake oil salesman really capitalizing on hysteria. the traditional role of the sciences and the doctors to throw a bucket of water on the fires of hysteria. that's one of the reasons i was so attracted to speak before this audience because so much of the good work on this being done by academics. the media has really sensationalized the concussion issue, and academics are saying look, this is sensationalism, alarmism, it's gone too far. a lot of times in these circles, academics get back. they are doing a great job and one of the things they're doing a great job of is pointing out all these concussion a lexus, these mouthpieces and these headbands are not going to do
7:46 am
anything for you to prevent a concussion or do anything if you have a concussion. so everyone, calm down. you don't have to pay $150 for a mouthpiece. i have some chipped teeth. maybe i wish eyes wearing one. but it will not do anything for your brain. [inaudible] spin i wasn't sure who had their hands up first. >> my question was, ibc football is a game played by guys wearing heavy bad cinema. hockey is a fast game played by big guys with lighter bedding, unless lighter bedding, less protective helmets who play on a harder surface encompassed by boards that don't give at all. do you think the nfl in football in general should look at we outfitting their players in a letter that and let him to encourage less head to head its?
7:47 am
>> i think if you look at what's going on, there's a natural progression that it's not going to stop with the nfl. it moves on to hockey which has a concussion incidence that's less than football, but not that much less. it will move on to across, it will move on to other sports intimate we have marbles. there are people saying let's ban headfirst slides in baseball. that's been checking in hockey. so it's not just going to stop with football. there has been talk about, well, maybe the helmet is getting too much confidence the players, and that's why they're getting these injuries. the problem with the argument that i see is that helmets are designed to protect the school, to protect against these sort of catastrophic -- the reason why players were dying because they get fractured skulls or brain believes in anything but that doesn't happen much anymore if at all because the helmets are
7:48 am
so effective. but no helmet can be effective at preventing a concussion. has pointed out just how the helmet inside of your skull to protect your brain from running around if that were to happen. able think helmets, better helmets, they will have no concussions. that's not going to happen. to help you get will be very marginal. but there is an argument that all this equipment is giving guys sort of a false sense of security and that's why they're playing with their heads down. a lot of interest in brandon meriwether around her, a guy who plays really all football sort of old school football. i've noticed him dipping head and that's very dangerous. there's a sense in football that we've got to protect the offense the players on the evil defensive guys. the reality is if you look at the osha football, the guys who were suffering death and
7:49 am
catastrophic injuries tend to be defensible as much more than offense the players. so really what these rules are designed to do is to protect guys like brandon meriwether as much as protect the offense of players. i think we have a very, you know, some of the conceptions that we have about the game of football are wrong. in fact, in 1905 the conception was that all these injuries were happening because it was a very bunched up king. you had a lot of runs, the defenses were generally like sediment on the line, three linebackers and one safety. so it was a bunched up cramped up again. open it up. they were wrong because when you open it became that's when most of injuries occur when people are going at each other at full speed. kickoff is an example of that. nowadays i think the misconcepmisconcep tion we have is that you've got to protect the band the offense of like players on the mean evil place. wingback the guys getting hurt in the big injuries, catastrophic injuries, deaths,
7:50 am
historically they tend more to be defensive players than offense of players. roger. >> congratulations on the book. >> thank you. >> this week there's a new controversy going on in the nfl which has to do with psychological damage. is this a hidden epidemic in sports we haven't seen much about before when 300-pound guys bowling 300 other pound guys because he's talked about this rich incognito star, miami dolphins, another player, a second year player. looking at this, there's no way to defend this guy, incognito. it sounds like they're shaking people down for money. sounds like some of the dolphins players are really kind of abusive towards the younger guys. the only way i can make sense of it, as i said earlier i was in the military for a number of
7:51 am
years. a lot of things you do in a military that if i were to say hey, this is what we did, you would look at me like what the heck are you talking about? there's a military culture, and i stress the word cold in that that you're indoctrinated into. anyone from the outside will say what do you mean you're walking around naked with your rifle and your gear on? that's crazy. it's just a funny thing we did. that's the kind of culture when you have these sort of small unit mentalities. and i wonder if that's, that kind of thing is going on in nfl or anyone in nfl make sense to them but anyone like myself is saying this is a fully crazy. how could this guy leave this in same voice no message on this guys answer machine. how could he torment him in this way? he will have his day in to be able to defend himself and maybe we will find out that he wasn't as villainous as we all think. but right now i just don't know
7:52 am
how you can really defend that. there's -- only people i see defend them really are guys in nfl which makes me believe that there's this culture going on that seems normal to the people within the cold, who drank the kool-aid. this is absolutely crazy. so i don't really know where that story is going and my sense is that some heads are going to roll in miami. and i wonder -- richie incognito is a great player but how can he be a great teammate after what we saw? how will anyone bring that guy on when he's that kind of a teammate? football is a team sport, and so i think he should maybe worry about his job prospects. [inaudible] >> next question. >> you mentioned numerous times
7:53 am
that football is regarded as a very evolutionary sport. we see this even down to the wall of choice, -- it's an oblong shaped. but having an evolutionist. also means it's subject to change, and change is not always good. so is not the evolutionary spirit of football both a gift and a curse? >> i think it's a gift because there's always these controversies about the sport of football, and football is able to react. if you were to play baseball 100 years ago, if you are thai cop and something magically you were to appear through time travel on a baseball field today, you do how to play the game. the game hasn't changed. it's a static king. soccer is the same way. if you try to change the rule in baseball, something like instant rebuttal the traditions will scream bloody murder.
7:54 am
you can do to understand because baseball is to the baseball is a traditional game. football is not a traditional game. you brought up the steroids, the ball to play with, and that came about because hoggard was playing a canadian university. mcgill wanted to use the rugby ball. harvard want to use a round ball, and i certainly harvard like that rugby ball so they basically for anyone who's blame hubbard, play with our rugby ball. so the rules kind of change in the way. you can tell a harvard man but you can't tell him much, right? someone had to do what harvard was done. when football started the first intercollegiate game ever between princeton and rutgers at rutgers, new brunswick, new jersey, in 1869, they kicked the ball into the goal just like soccer. they kicked a round ball in a cool. but within a few you're supposed decided it's a lot more fun to kick the ball above the goal than beneath it. that's we get the goalpost. you get the ball a long dated
7:55 am
overtime. you get rule changes like the forward pass in the neutral zone. we were talking about the fact that the touchdown you hav had o touch the ball down physically. they didn't have in sounds. they were all sorts of innovations and football, you know, in equipment, and rules, in the field of play, and that has changed but that's a different now. the point i think i made in his speech is that if you're able to change the size of the ball, if you able to add insult, if able to say let's get the ball, add the four past which no rugby basting never done. you're able to do that in football. people complained at the time, this is grass basketball. they were furious. if you're able to do all that, if you able to get a running game and pass the ball and naked kicking but you can still call
7:56 am
the game football, then i think we're okay if ncaa officials are able to kick out defensive players who put on, you know, hits on defenseless receivers, defenseless offense of play. we're okay with that because those are really minor tweets compared to the bigger picture. your question may be getting at, the big nightmare scenario, for football fans is that one day we'll all wake up and the players are not wearing pants. they are wearing flags. this has already happened. this happened at a school in new jersey. lawrenceville prep where the headmistress decided football was too dangerous and so they got rid of the oldest tackle football league in the country and they replaced it with a flag football league. in massachusetts, in newton, every year they have this powder puff girls football game that's
7:57 am
a flag football game. sometimes it gets rowdy and out of hand but it is a flag football game. the principal of the school decided to ban it because flag football was too dangerous. so it's not going to stop with football. it's not going to stop with flag football. if you like some of the sport better, they may be coming after that one next. and let me just close with this. football has not grown the rough. the message of my book, and then is that society has grown too soft. thank you so much for coming out tonight. i appreciate it. [applause] >> thank you all. just a couple of closing notes. visit the following website, our sister group accuracy in media, www.ain'
7:58 am
-- and our website, accuracy in mr. flynn's website, a variety of cultural, political observations on there that are well worth reading. and, of course, check out mr. flynn's book. once again, this meeting was brought to you, as all our offer nights are, from the generous grant from the fresco foundation, which sponsors a conservative university authors series that would run every year. thank you all for joining us. have a good night, and stay in touch. [applause]
7:59 am
>> every weekend since 1998, booktv has brought you the top nonfiction authors including -- >> first of all i think increasing women's identities are tied up to the work in a way itch we may not like. ..
8:00 am
>> here's a look at when's ahead on c-span2. next, "the communicators" with the digital editor of the economist on the evolution of social networks from ancient times to modern social media. then, a discussion from the aspen institute on small businesses and job creation. and later, a look at u.s./canada defense relations from the second in command with the canadian military. also today, connecticut's governor discusses education legislation passed this his state concerning teacher accountability, charter schools and changes to underperforming k-12 schools. governor malloy has called education the civil rights issue of our time, and he'll talk about hi

Discussion-- Football
CSPAN December 2, 2013 7:00am-8:01am EST

Series/Special. Daniel Flynn discusses 'The War on Football: Saving America's Game.' (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Nfl 11, Theodore Roosevelt 7, Rockne 6, Us 5, George Gipp 4, Academia 4, Ronald Reagan 3, Woodrow Wilson 3, New Orleans 3, Brandon Meriwether 2, Harvard 2, Washington 2, New Jersey 2, D.c. 2, Daniel Flynn 2, Katrina 2, Moneygram 1, Fat Nation 1, Boston University Group 1, Boston University 1
Network CSPAN
Duration 01:01:00
Rating TV-MA
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel v109
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 12/2/2013